Egypt political figures

12 April 2011

Six individuals expected to play a key role in Egypt’s presidential elections: Mohamed ElBaradei, Ayman Nour, Magdi Hatata, Hisham Bastawisi, Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi

Mohamed ElBaradei

Position Former director general, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Biography Mohamed ElBaradei, aged 68, was born and raised in Cairo. In 1962, he graduated from the University of Cairo with a bachelor’s degree in law. ElBaradei also has a master’s degree in international law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a diploma in international law from the New York University School of Law in the US. In 1964, ElBaradei joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry and worked in Egypt’s permanent missions to the UN in New York and in Geneva. ElBaradei joined the Vienna-based IAEA in 1984 and was appointed as director general in 1997. He stayed in this role until November 2009. In 2005, ElBaradei, together with the IAEA, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. On January 27 2011, ElBaradei returned to Egypt to take part in active politics.

Ayman Nour

Position Chairman, El-Ghad party

Biography Ayman Nour, aged 46, is chairman of the El-Ghad party. Nour graduated from Mansurah University in Egypt with a degree in law and began his career in journalism in the 1980s. He wrote for El-Wafd paper, a well known opposition newspaper named after the El-Wafd party. Nour moved into politics in the 1990s and served as a member of the Egyptian parliament from 1995 to 2005. He formed the El-Ghad party in 2004 in order to run for the presidency in 2005. Nour came second in the presidential poll, getting 8 per cent of the vote, compared with incumbent president Hosni Mubarak’s 89 per cent. Nour alleged that the vote had been rigged. He was later imprisoned by Mubarak on charges of forging signatures to register the El-Ghad party. He was released from prison in 2009 on health grounds. Following the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime, Nour has stated his intention to run for the presidency once more.

Magdi Hatata

Position Former chief of staff, Egyptian Armed Forces

Biography Magdi Hatata, aged 70, is the former chief of staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces. He is currently working with consultants to create a programme for political, economic and social development and is expected to run for the presidency. Hatata served as army chief of staff until 2001. Previously, Hatata was commander of the second field army and head of Arab Organisation for Industrialisation and the Republican Guard. He was involved in the 1973 war against Israel. Hatata was against the constitutional amendments that were voted for by majority of Egyptians in the 11 March referendum. Hatata advocates the creation of a new constitution and supports the freedom to establish political parties. He teaches at the Egyptian Army’s Command and General Staff College. Hatata has a master of arts in military science and a fellowship of the Nasser Military Academy’s Higher War College.

Hisham Bastawisi

Position Former vice-president, Court of Cassation

Biography Hisham Bastawisi, aged 59, is former vice-president of the Court of Cassation. In 2005, Bastawisi was part of a group that called for the independence of the judiciary and judicial supervision in Egypt. He has also called for international monitoring of elections. As a result of his anti-government position, Bastawisi was forced into exile in 2008. He returned to Egypt when the political uprising started in January 2011. Bastawisi was one of the first high-profile figures to come out against Hosni Mubarak and he called for the military to take control after the uprisings began. Bastawisi has said he is in favour of renegotiating much of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. He opposes any amendment to the second article of the Egyptian constitution, which states that the sharia (Islamic) law is the basis for legislation.

Amr Moussa

Position Secretary-general, Arab League

Biography Amr Moussa, aged 74, is an Egyptian diplomat. Since 2001, he has been serving as the secretary-general of the Cairo-based Arab League. Moussa graduated with a law degree from Cairo University in 1957. From 1958 to 1972, he worked at various Egyptian embassies in Europe, including Switzerland. In 1974-77, Moussa was an adviser to the foreign minister. From 1977 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1990, he was director of the Department of International Organisations at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Between 1981-83, he was deputy permanent representative to the UN in New York. In 1990, Moussa became Egypt’s permanent representative of Egypt to the UN. In 1991, Mubarak appointed him as foreign minister. Moussa served in this role until 2001, when he was appointed to his current position at the Arab League. Moussa said on in February 2011 that he intended to run for the presidency.

Hamdeen Sabahi

Position Leader, Al-Karama party

Biography Hamdeen Sabahi is the founder and leader of the still unregistered Al-Karama party. Sabahi founded the group in 1996 after defecting from the Nasserist party. Sabahi is a popular Arab nationalist and was elected to parliament in 2005. He considered running for the presidency that year, but later changed his mind and called upon Egyptians to boycott the poll. Sabahi is a founding member of the National Association for Change, which is an association of various groups that support reforms in Egypt and its political system. Outside politics, Sabahi is a journalist and founder of the Al-Karama party newspaper. On 30 March, Sabahi said he intended to stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming presidential election and laid out the three priorities of his campaign. Political democracy, social justice and an independent Egypt are the three proposed pillars of his campaign.

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